“We are survivors, of each other. We have been shark to one another, but also lifeboat. That counts for something.” Margaret Atwood Cat’s Eye
Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye Through a Foucauldian Optic: The Question of Power. This is the title of my graduate thesis. I have been working on re-writing it recently, and of course reliving the time in which I wrote it. While Handmaid’s Tale is getting a lot of publicity right now, because of the movie made from the book, to me Atwood’s book Cat’s Eye is one of her best books. It is about the friendships among 4 preteen girls. As only Atwood can do, she pulls back the curtain and exposes friendship for what it sometimes can be, messy, horrible, and devastating.
I have also been thinking a lot about what it means to be a friend to someone, and the hard work of letting go of friends who no longer fit into my life.
In my adult life, I have had to let go of a few friends, for a variety of reasons. One thing I’ve learned: I expect a lot out of my friends. One of the big things I expect is that they respect me as I respect them. I have a real problem with someone who wants to be my friend, but finds it difficult to respect my space, my time, or even boundaries that I may have set.
But I am getting much better at being honest about friends who show themselves to be rude, thoughtless, or disrespectful because I believe, that once a person shows you that ugly side of themselves, that they may have kept hidden for awhile – they mean it.
I don’t like people who pretend to be my friend, but don’t care if they humiliate me in public. I don’t like people who pretend to be my friend, but then disrespect me by saying and doing things they know bother me. I don’t like people who pretend to be my friend, but have no qualms about making me uncomfortable in any way, as long as it puffs them up.
It’s difficult to let go of a friendship that isn’t working, but trust me sometimes it is necessary. It is sad, that’s the truth, but necessary nonetheless.
I am so grateful for all the good friends I do have. I don’t let one bad experience (or two) ruin having friends for me. I have had some friendships for 20 years. These friends are true and wonderful. I am grateful beyond words for those true and good friends.